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Robin Hood black holes steal from nebulae to make new stars

Bringing some of the mysteries of the universe a little closer to home.

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Owlscrying
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Joined: Mon Apr 03, 2017 3:21 am

Unread post Tue Sep 05, 2017 5:44 pm

It's easy to picture a black hole as a kind of all-powerful cosmic drain, a sinkhole of super-strong gravity that snags and swallows passing nebulae or stars. While it is true we can't observe matter once it crosses a black hole's event horizon, scientists are zeroing in on what happens in the margins, where molecular clouds release vast amounts of energy as it circles the plughole.

EU scientists are honing in on just what happens to gas discarded by a black hole's ferocious velocity, and how this can influence star formation in galaxies like ours, and even interstellar space.

Astronomer Dr Bjorn Emonts, from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in the US, has been using some of the world's biggest radio telescopes to look into what happens to such jets of gases as part of the EU-funded BLACK HOLES AND JWST project.

"We wanted to see how black holes can affect the evolution of galaxies as a whole," he said.

Using advanced radio telescopes in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile, located 5 000 metres above sea-level, Dr Emonts can detect the characteristic spectral signatures of gas molecules as they are driven outward by the black hole.

"If you have a rotating black hole with an accretion disk (particles orbiting the black hole), it can actually act like a kind of dynamo. It can trigger magnetic fields on either side of the accretion disk and these magnetic fields can trap charged particles," he said.

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Owlscrying
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Unread post Tue Sep 05, 2017 5:46 pm

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Credit: Flickr/ NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Discarded gas from black holes spreads across galaxies and can even influence the formation of stars.

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Owlscrying
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Unread post Tue Sep 05, 2017 5:50 pm



Observations from ESO's Very Large Telescope have revealed stars forming in the huge outflows in galaxies, which are driven by central supermassive black holes.

 
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